20″ Kids’ Bikes
What is the best bike for a 6, 7, or 8-year-old?
While 20″ bikes are generally the best fit for most kids who are 6, 7, or 8 years old, they can vary greatly in size, price, and features. From gears, to brakes, to frame size, kids’ bikes can start getting a lot more complicated when your child is ready for a 20″ bike.
But with kid-centric brands like woom, Guardian, Prevelo, Priority, and Pello, you can’t go wrong. To help you wade through all the options, we’ve tested over twenty different 20″ bikes, ranging from $50 to $900, to help you find the best bike for your child’s riding style and your budget.
Why trust us? The kids riding bikes in the pictures below are our kids (as well as some neighborhood kids). We put bikes to the test – we don’t just rate them based on what others have said about them. Plus, with 9 years of bike testing under our belt, we’ve personally met and consulted with many top brands in the industry including woom, Strider, Prevelo and Cleary.
Top Picks Summary
While 20″ bikes generally fit most kids who are 6, 7, or 8 years old, which 20″ bike is best for your child? Use our handy chart below to check out our top picks for your child’s riding style, then scroll down for more detailed info on each bike.
BEST FOR MULTI-USE
What We Look for in a Multi-Use Bike
Multi-use bikes are versatile enough to ride around the neighborhood, take on longer paved rides, and tackle compact dirt trails and basic single-track trails. Most kids on 20″ bikes are just beginning to explore what adventures they can really have on a bike, so having a bike equipped to handle various conditions is ideal for most young riders. Gears are essential for a multi-use bike, as are lightweight frames and high-quality, dual-hand brakes.
Multi-Use: Best for Everyday Use & Timid Riders
SEAT HEIGHT: 22.1″ – 28″
WEIGHT: 16.3 lb.
STANDOUT FEATURE: Wide gain ratio range, very lightweight, comfortable rider position
FULL REVIEW: woom 4
With mid-range 1.5″ tires, grip shifters, and weighing in under 17 lb., the woom 4 is well-suited for anything from longer rides on paved bike trails to cruising dirt roads. Easy to ride and easy to handle, the woom 4 places kids in a comfortable rider position (not too leaned forward or straight up) that helps kids feel stable and confident as they ride.
As the lightest 20″ bike we’ve ever tested, our timid testers have all raved about the woom 4. For those riders ready for more action, the woom features a wide gain ratio (gearing) range of 2.3 to 6.7 making it suitable for flying down flat paved trails or climb rolling hills. Comes in five fun colors for particular kids.
Multi-Use: Best for Frequent Trail Use
SEAT HEIGHT: 22.5″ – 27.5″
WEIGHT: 20.3 lb.
STANDOUT FEATURES: Mechanical disc brakes, wide tires with flat knobs suitable for both trail and pavement
FULL REVIEW: Pello Rover
The Pello Rover is the ideal riding machine for young riders ready to tackle gears and trails (paved and dirt) for the first time. Featuring wide high-end K-RAD Kenda tires, the Pello has the extra grip to tackle rough terrain, while still featuing flatter knobs to allows for smooth rolling on paved surfaces.
With superior stopping power from mechanical disc brakes, grip shifters to more easily master gears, and a lightweight quality build, the Rover stands ready to take on whatever your young ripper can throw at it.
Multi-Use: Best for Aggressive Riders
SEAT HEIGHT: 20.7″ – 25.5″
WEIGHT: 18.9 lb.
STANDOUT FEATURES: Lightweight and nimble, trigger shifters for aggressive riders
FULL REVIEW: Prevelo Alpha Three
For those young groms craving a lightweight, nimble bike that can easily take them from grand neighborhood adventures to basic trails, the Prevelo Alpha 3 is the ultimate ride. While the tires and brakes on the Pello Rover make it better for frequent or intermediate trail riders, the 1.5 lb. lighter weight Prevelo is better for everyday aggressive riders who seek out any obstacles, such as jumps or ramps, as well as occasional trail riding. Featuring trigger shifters, versus Pello’s grip shifters, the Prevelo offers faster and quicker shifting for those powering up hills or neighborhood jumps.
Multi-Use: Best on a Budget
SEAT HEIGHT: 25.25″ – 29.9″
WEIGHT: 21 lb.
STANDOUT FEATURES: Great quality for the price
FULL REVIEW: Raleigh Rowdy 20
The Rowdy and Lily pack a lot of punch into their sub-$250 price tag. While built with lower-end components than our other top picks, they’re amazingly light for their price, are built with easy-to-use Shimano grip shifters, and have responsive, dual-hand brakes.
With an aggressive geometry (kids are more leaned forward as they ride), the Rowdy and Lily easily allow kids to shift their weight around to tackle jumps, hills, or every curb in the neighborhood. With smoother tires, versus knobby all-terrain tires, the Rowdy and Lily roll smooth and steady on paved surfaces, but still have enough grip to tackle basic dirt.
BEST FOR NEIGHBORHOOD USE
What We Look for in a Neighborhood Bike
Bikes for kids who mainly ride around the neighborhood should be lightweight, easy-to-ride, and provide a comfortable riding position for the rider. The average child rider doesn’t need a lot of gears or shocks or other extra add-ons that require maintenance and greatly increase the overall weight of the bike.
Keep it simple here – what your child needs is a dependable, durable, and fun bike to help them explore the neighborhood.
Neighborhood Bikes: Best Braking System
SEAT HEIGHT: 20″ Small (single speed): 20.8″ – 26.8″, 20″ Large (geared): 22.5″ – 28.5″
WEIGHT: 18.2 lb and 20.2 lb
STANDOUT FEATURES: Unique & safe braking system
FULL REVIEW: Guardian Original
Lightweight and well-designed, Shark-Tank-funded Guardian Bikes come with a proprietary braking system called SureStop that prevents unsafe braking. When braking with just the front hand brake while at high speeds, bikes can tilt forward and buck a child off the bike and over the handlebars.
SureStop on Guardian bikes prevents this by having only one brake lever engage the front and rear brakes. Not only it is the safest system on the market, but it’s also much easier to use than most traditional dual-hand brakes.
Available in a premium Original Line and a budget-friendly Ethos line, the Guardian Original is built with a lightweight aluminum frame and higher-end components, including an upgraded grip shifter that works great with small hands.
Neighborhood Bikes: Best Introduction to Gears
SEAT HEIGHT: 22″ – 28.5″
WEIGHT: 19.5 lb.
STANDOUT FEATURES: 3 gears for an easy intro to shifting
FULL REVIEW: Priority Start 20″
Staying true to their innovative beginnings, the Priority Start 20″ offers the simplicity and easy maintenance of a single-speed but with the gearing options of a traditional geared bike. With just three-gears housed in an innovative, internally-geared hub, the Priority Start 20 has gears, but without the traditional bulky and finicky derailleur.
Combined with a lightweight frame and grease-free belt drive, the Start 20 is the perfect “Goldilocks” bike for the average everyday rider – not too basic, not too complex, but just right.
Neighborhood Bikes: Best Mid-range
SEAT HEIGHT: 20″ Small (single speed): 20.8″ – 26.8″, 20″ Large (geared): 22.5″ – 28.5″
WEIGHT: 20.7 lb. and 22.9 lb.
STANDOUT FEATURES: Guardian’s patented SureStop braking system allows kids to brake faster, safer, and with less effort!
FULL REVIEW: Guardian 20″
From their low-center-of-gravity designs and lightweight frames to their amazing SureStop braking system, Guardian’s Ethos line offer’s premium features for a reasonable price. Guardian offers two 20″ bikes in their Ethos line. The 20″ small is single-speed. The 20″ large has a larger frame and is geared. The 20″ Large does have a higher minimum seat height than the 20″ Small, so be sure to measure your child’s inseam before you order!
Neighborhood Bikes: Best on a Budget
SEAT HEIGHT: 25.1″ – 30.9″
WEIGHT: 23.75 lb.
STANDOUT FEATURES: Easy-to-use gears
FULL REVIEW: Diamondback Insight 20
For those who live near hills or simply want or need the flexibility of a geared bike when riding, the Diamondback Insight is a great basic geared bike for just $250.
BEST SINGLE-SPEED BIKES
What We Look for in a Single-Speed Bike
Gears are fun to have, but they can also be confusing for young riders. For those riders sticking to the neighborhood or riding in relatively flat areas, single-speed bikes are ideal as they help to simplify riding and minimize maintenance.
The single-speed bikes below still feature the lightweight frames and high-quality builds as their geared counterparts, but without the added complication of gears. When choosing a single-speed, be sure to take note of the gain ratio of the bike.
Low gain ratio (2 to 3.5): Easier to pedal from the start, but reaches a lower maximum speed. Best for ambitious riders who want to power up hills or obstacles. Not ideal for use on long, flat rides.
High gain ratio (3.5 to 5): Harder to pedal from the start, but can reach a higher maximum speed. Ideal for longer rides as the bike gains more distance with every pedal stroke.
Single Speed: Best for Adventurous Riders
SEAT HEIGHT: 21″ – 26.4″
WEIGHT: 19.1 lb.
GAIN RATIO: 3.37
STANDOUT FEATURES: Aggressive geometry for adventurous riders
FULL REVIEW: Cleary Owl
Designed with a more leaned-forward body position and a low gain ratio, the Cleary Owl is an amazing, fun-to-ride bike for those ambitious kids ready to tackle any jump or curb the neighborhood can throw at them, and who don’t want the extra hassle of shifting gears. Well-equipped for basic trail riding as well, the Cleary allows kids to easily shift their weight around, but its single speed does limit its use to basic trails.
Single Speed: Best for Longer Rides
SEAT HEIGHT: 21.25″ – 26″
WEIGHT: 17 lb.
GAIN RATIO: 4.5
STANDOUT FEATURES: Comfortable, upright positioning, high gain ratios for higher speeds
FULL REVIEW: Pello Reddi
Pello Bikes are the dream-child of a dad simply looking for a great bike at a great price. He succeeded! Lightweight with a low center-of-gravity, the Pello Reddi is the perfect bike for everyday neighborhood riders looking for a fun, steady ride with a comfortable upright position. With the highest gain ratio of the four, it takes slightly more effort than the others to get started but can reach faster speeds and travel farther with each pedal stroke. This makes it a fantastic choice for longer rides with the family.
Single Speed: Best Braking System
SEAT HEIGHT: 20.8″ – 26.8″
WEIGHT: 18.2 lb and 20.7 lb
GAIN RATIO: 3.96
STANDOUT FEATURES: Unique & safe braking system
FULL REVIEW: Guardian Single Speed
Available in two 20″ sizes as well as in their Original and Ethos line, Guardian offers several single-speed 20″ bikes. Featuring their proprietary braking system called SureStop, Guardian bikes allow kids to stop faster, safer, and with less effort. If you want the best braking system around but also want the simplicity of a single-speed bike, look no further.
Single Speed: Best on a Budget
SEAT HEIGHT: 23.5″ – 29.5″ (MXR and Jazzi)
WEIGHT: 22.8 lb
GAIN RATIO: 4 (both)
STANDOUT FEATURES: Lightweight bikes offering great quality for the price
An amazing build for the price, the Raleigh MXR and Jazzi provide comfortable rides and durable a build that are sure to last through several children. Unlike the others in the list, the Raleigh’s do have a coaster brake, but they also feature a rear v-pull brake. While not the lightest bikes, they are well-made and are pretty much the best bike you’ll find for those looking to stay under $200.
How to Choose the Best 20″ Bike for your 6 to 8 Year Old
Here’s a quick summary of what to look for when selecting the best bike for your 6, 7, or 8-year-old. For more detailed information on the topics below, check out our article Kids’ Pedal Bikes: How to Choose.
A 20″ bike is generally the best fit to buy for 6 and 7-year-olds. If your child is already 8 or is a very tall 7-year-old, also consider 24″ bikes as they would offer more room for growth. If a child starts on a 20″ bike when they are 6 or 7, they can likely continue to ride it while they are 8 years old.
In addition to wheel size, pay close attention to the minimum and maximum seat height as they can vary widely. The two bikes shown above both have 20″ wheels but fit different size kids. The Priority Start on the left has a 22″ minimum seat height while the Raleigh Rowdy on the right has a minimum seat height of 25.25″! Make sure that you choose a bike that not only fits well now, but allows for plenty of room for growth.
Don’t know how tall your child’s bike seat should be? If your child is a confident rider, it’s best to set the bike’s seat about 2 – 3″ above the child’s inseam. This will allow them to touch the ground with their tiptoes and achieve maximum efficiency while pedaling. If your child is very timid, you can set the seat lower to allow them to more easily touch the ground with their feet.
Ideally, your child’s bike will be less than 30% of their body weight. In most cases, the lighter the bike, the easier the bike is to ride. This is especially true with lightweight or petite children.
Many 20″ bikes also come with gears, which can increase the weight of the bike, although it is minimal. Shocks on a 20″ bike, however, can add A LOT of unnecessary weight to a bike. Shocks on a 20″ bike should be avoided unless the child is riding really aggressive single-track trails.
The frame design on 20″ bikes can vary greatly as these bikes are often designed for a specific type of rider. A bike built for neighborhood use will place its rider in a more comfortable upright position while a bike built for more aggressive riding will place the rider in a much more aggressive leaned forward position.
As a result, there isn’t one best bike for kids who are 6, 7 or 8-years-old. There are bikes that are best for different types of riders and different types of terrains.
Generally, 6-year-olds are coordinated enough to properly use a handbrake. Handbrakes are much more efficient and have much more stopping power than coaster brakes. As a result, we give strong preference to bikes with dual hand brakes and NO coaster brake. Coaster brakes aren’t necessary and prevent kids from pedaling backward to help them regain their balance.
A 20″ bike is the first time you have an option to purchase a bike with gears. For some kids at age 6, 7, or 8, gears might still be too much to handle! For less coordinated or timid kids, it’s just one more thing to worry about. Many great 20″ single-speed bikes are available that might be worth considering.
For many kids, gears are a welcomed addition to their bike! Some kids quickly and easily take to gears, while others take time. Learning when and how to shift can be confusing and challenging. Often times age makes a difference in how a child responds to gears. 6-year-olds generally love playing with gears (i.e. shifting whenever they feel like it), but by 7 years old, their coordination has increased and they begin to use the gears more intentionally.
Good bikes are not cheap, and as bikes get larger, they get more expensive. Every bike on this list is significantly better than a bike you’ll find at Walmart, but also costs more. The more expensive bikes on this list are more lightweight, have higher end components, and frame designs that make them easier to ride. Adding gears also contributes significantly to the price.
Kids’ Bikes: Comparison Charts – To view and sort even more 20″ bikes, and read reviews.
Kids’ Bikes: How to Choose – Detailed information on what to look for when choosing a bike.
How to Teach Your Child to Ride a Bike Without Training Wheels – It doesn’t have to be painful!
10 Best Bikes for Girls: Looking for a high-performance bike in pink, purple, or cute designs? Check out our list!